Mira-Mini | Eleven Fifty Academy: Talent Impact Award
Gerry Dick: Well, this year's TechPoint Mira Award winner for Talent Impact is Eleven Fifty Academy. Pleased to be joined backstage here at the Mira Awards by Scott Jones, the Founder and President of Eleven Fifty Academy. Scott, congratulations on the award.
Scott Jones: inaudible.
Gerry Dick: Yeah.
Scott Jones: Yep, we're very honored.
Gerry Dick: Well, you talk about impact, and Eleven Fifty, in a relatively short period of time, little over seven years, has had that impact. First of all, for those who aren't familiar with Eleven Fifty, describe the model.
Scott Jones: Right, so Eleven Fifty was founded in my home to very quickly upskill people who were already in computers, but now what we're doing is taking people from all walks of life. They might be bartenders, Starbucks baristas, Uber drivers, coal miners, we've had everything, nurses, teachers, even computer science people, and half of our people actually have a degree, but they come through, and so in 90 days they can skill up in the language of tech with deep immersion as if you were doing a study abroad program in France to learn French, but you learn it so quickly and so well that you have a toehold in the employment world, and so that's why our graduates are so successful at getting placed into over 300 employers in Indiana very quickly. And so last year we had 900 who graduated with the language of tech, and they can go into cybersecurity or web development, software development, very quickly and at a fraction of the cost, and when I say that, compared to a degree, which they may already have a degree, and this lets them not incur more student debt and allows them to upskill so that they can get that very powerful job that doubles and triples their income at a fraction of the cost, which is a few thousand dollars instead of$100, 000.
Gerry Dick: You alluded to this a moment ago, but you feel that Indiana doesn't necessarily have an unemployment problem, an under-
Scott Jones: Right, and Indiana has a employment rate in the two and 3% level, and that's not our problem, but what we do have is a disastrous underemployment problem, meaning if we want to attract the Amazon HQ2s, which we should have, and the Intel$ 20 billion facility in our neighbor state, Ohio, which is really going to be a$ 100 billion of economic benefit for that state, why did they not choose to come here? Why did Lilly put a billion dollar facility in North Carolina? It's because we need more tech talent of high value talent, so it's not an employment problem, it's an underemployment problem, and how do we skill up people with high value skills, not just in IT, but biotech and all the other things that are high value, and that's what we have to concentrate on, and we at Eleven Fifty are trying to set the bar and then partner with Ivy Tech and Vin Sims and Martin University and Wabash and all of the other schools. This is not competitive. We are trying to power up as a nonprofit and help them to produce that talent that is ready to go get a job through an apprenticeship like the new TechPoint announcement, which is fabulous, apprenticeship or full employment.
Gerry Dick: Yeah, and you also mentioned underserved areas that you've connected with and had big impact.
Scott Jones: Yeah, in 46218, highest crime zone, food desert in the city, and we have classes going on in person there and we have hybrid classes as well where we have people that are graduating, starting at 70, 000. This is truly transformation. It's generational wealth for people that have not been able to get out of the spiral, the trap, and in Gary we've gotten a grant and we're up there upskilling as well, so we're doing this statewide, but even here in the city we're making big impacts with a lot of different partners. It's not just Eleven Fifty, it's the churches, it's the other universities and colleges that are helping us do this.
Gerry Dick: The Talent Impact Award winner at this year's Mira Awards, Eleven Fifty Academy's Scott Jones, the Founder and President. Scott, congratulations-
Scott Jones: Thank you.
Gerry Dick: ...and look forward to hearing more from you.
Scott Jones: And thanks to all our graduates for giving us a nice reputation.
Gerry Dick: Very good. Thanks.
Indianapolis-based Eleven Fifty Academy was created to change the economic trajectory of low-income, less educated or underemployed adults and their families by increasing post-secondary educational attainment and employability. With community and employer partners, Eleven Fifty is building a tech workforce pipeline at scale. Its graduates have filled more than 800 tech jobs since the start of the pandemic, earn average starting salaries of $54,000 and 97% of them remain in the Indiana tech ecosystem.